attitude of giving
(THL: jinpa; WYL: sbyin pa)
Dana (Sanskrit; Pali) is typically translated as "generosity". It is defined as generosity or attitude of giving; it can also refer to cultivating this attitude of giving.
On the mundane (worldly) level, it is thought that generosity developed through giving can lead to experience of material wealth in this life, or being reborn into a situation of greater wealth or prosperity.
The paramita of dana is regarded as:
- one of the six paramitas in the Mahayana tradition
- one of the ten paramis in the Theravada tradition
In the Pāli Canon's Dighajanu Sutta, generosity (denoted there by the Pāli word cāga, which can be synonymous with dāna) is identified as one of the four traits conditioning happiness and wealth in the next life. Conversely, lack of giving leads to unhappy states and poverty.
Dāna leads to one of the pāramitās or "perfections", the dānapāramitā. This can be characterized by unattached and unconditional generosity, giving and letting go.
In the Tibetan tradition, it is taught that giving without seeking anything in return leads to greater spiritual wealth. Moreover, it reduces the acquisitive impulses that ultimately lead to continued suffering.
- Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Dana
- Stewart McFarlane in Peter Harvey, ed., Buddhism. Continuum, 2001, page 186.
- Tsong-kha-pa (2002). Guy Newland, ed. The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume II. Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, ed. in chief. Canada: Snow Lion. ISBN 1-55939-168-5.: 236, 238